Quality Of Life

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Neville rubbed his eyes wearily. It had been a long day of meetings. Meetings about progress, meetings about strategy, meetings about personnel, meetings about finance, meetings about data and at one point, Neville was fairly certain, there had been a meeting about meetings.

The majority of these gatherings had followed a similar format. They began with a review of the objectives set at the last meeting. Next came the acknowledgement that none of those objectives had been met. This was followed by a minor witch-hunt as individuals tried to pin the failure to meet their assigned objectives onto other people. This, in turn, led to some robust ‘conversations’ as the accused refuted the blame and tried to apportion the liability elsewhere. Ultimately there was a consensus that most of the failings were probably the fault of those reckless souls who hadn’t bothered to turn up to the meeting. Each conclave would end with a new set of objectives (or more accurately the re-stating of the last set of objectives) despite the near-certainty that none of these targets would be met by the time the next meeting rolled around.

But now the working day was finally over and Neville had a few hours of reprieve. He knew he probably should do some preparatory work for tomorrow’s meetings, but, as he was more than certain that no-one else would do so, he felt that any endeavours on his part to make the  following day’s assemblies anything more than a complete waste of time, would be an additional waste of his own time.

Neville had better things to do with his evening. There little enough of it, once his arduous commute home was taken into account, so he was certainly not inclined to spend it reading through the interminably dull, and predominantly out-of-date, reports that would be erroneously quoted by equally ill-informed colleagues in the various discussions he was due to partake in during the following day.

No, Neville’s time was his own and he planned to spend it, as he did every other night.

This entailed settling down on his sofa, sticking on a boxset, and consuming a moderately-priced Pinot Noir until he could see the bottom of the bottle or he passed out.

Whichever came first.

Coping With Stress

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It’s best not to ponder
All of your fears
That way lies madness
It’ll all end in tears

Beating stress is quite simple
A doddle in fact
Just forget all your woes
And you’ll have it cracked

There’s no need to focus
On tasks uncompleted
If you attempt to achieve them
You’ll end up defeated

Far better instead
To try to unwind
Ignore all your worries
Forget daily grind

For if all your duties
Have got out of hand
It’s better to bury
Your head in the sand

And one certain way
To ensure you’ll feel fine
Is to take all your problems
And drown them in wine

The Magic Of Twixmas

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Though Christmas is over
Remain in good cheer
For there’s plenty of food
To see us through to New Year

There are chocolates aplenty
A variety of cake
There are mince pies and stollen
(That I didn’t bake)

So much leftover turkey
Of that there’s no doubt
(But alas linger on
Some uneaten sprouts)

There are crisps and cashew nuts
And some more bombay mix
And to wash it all down
A glass of Rioja (or six)

So eat, drink and be merry
Without getting fatter
For until January
Calories do not matter

Have A Vin-Tastic Day

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Today is Beaujolais Nouveau Day.

It’s a day when the wine makers of the Beaujolais region in France would like you to sample their latest ‘vin de primeur’ or ‘vin de l’année’.

A ‘vin de primeur’ is a wine that is meant to be drunk the year it was produced. It’s not going to improve with age – today is as good as it’s ever going to get.

If you’re not a wine connoisseur, a Beaujolais Nouveau is a great place to start your journey to pretentious wine snobbery (a place I like to call home) because it’s quite easy on the palate.

If you are a pretentious wine snob, then Beaujolais Nouveau is still a bit of fun.

When I lived in Paris, back in my mid-twenties (which is now a scarily long time ago) Beaujolais Nouveau Day was kind of a big deal.

Of course, it’s just a ‘made-up’ day driven by commercial reasons to sell lots of wine.

But on the plus side it’s a day when we’re all encouraged to drink lots of wine.

Regardless of whatever else we might have planned that day.

If you have a job interview, will be driving a heavy goods vehicle, or like me, you’re teaching secondary-aged children to speak French, you should plan to do so under the influence of Beaujolais Nouveau*.

 

 

*All of those things are bad ideas. Don’t do them. Even though, in the case of the French lesson, it could be argued that it’s culturally relevant…

There’s Always A Bright Side

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It’s already five past eight
I’m running rather late
I overslept this morning
Ignored alarm clock’s warning

Had no time to eat my toast
Now coffee is the most
I’ll consume before my break
So I’ll be hungry but awake

And the traffic will be slow
But I’ll just go with the flow
There’s no point in getting stressed
(Did I remember to get dressed?)

It’s not been the best of starts
But I’ll try not to lose heart
If I can just survive the day
Then there’s always Beaujolais

Going Cold Turkey On The Cold Turkey

James Proclaims (4)

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The trouble with ‘Twixmas’, the period between Christmas and New Year, is it’s pretty hard to judge exactly how to play things ‘health wise’.

In many households there are still quite a lot of leftovers that ‘need’ to be eaten.

Cold turkey would be a case in point. Turkey sandwiches for days after Christmas is a tradition that I’ve always enjoyed.

Although it is a ‘Twixmas’ pleasure that I’ve actually given up in the name of love. Mrs Proclaims is a pescatarian (which is someone who doesn’t eat meat but does eat fish). So (even though I don’t really get it – why has a turkey got more right to live than a tuna?) I’ve also kind of become a pescatarian of sorts. I still eat meat on occasion but when I’m cooking for both of us I tend to cook vegetarian food or fish. I like fish so it’s really no hardship. For Christmas dinner I cooked a side of salmon rather than a turkey. A whole turkey for just for me seemed excessive and a properly cooked side of salmon is quite the festive treat. It was still too much for two people so there are still lots of leftovers – it’s just that I find myself eating a lot of cold salmon rather than cold turkey. Continue reading Going Cold Turkey On The Cold Turkey

The Second Annual Christmas Message from James Proclaims

James Proclaims (4)

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As Noddy Holder off of Slade shouts whenever anyone cares to listen:

IT’S CHRISTMAS!

Noddy likes Christmas and if I’d written and performed one of the most successful Christmas songs of all time I’d like Christmas too.

In point of fact I have not written and performed one of the most successful Christmas songs of all time and I don’t expect I ever will. I’m going to have to find another way to ensure the festive season brings with it a massive annual royalty cheque.

But I still like Christmas and today is Christmas.

Well as I’m writing this it’s Christmas Eve. Like last year’s Christmas message, I’m writing it in advance so as to allow more time for the excessive consumption of unhealthy food on the big day and like last year I’ve schedule this post to go ‘live’ at the same time the Queen makes her annual speech to the nation.

Last year Her Madge didn’t seem too perturbed by the fact I was going head-to-head with her, but then, like me, she ‘pre-recorded’ her message in advance. I have not seen or spoken to our Head of State in person since last Christmas (or indeed ever) so I’ve no idea if she’s upset by my efforts to usurp her annual message but I can only imagine that she’s seething with rage. Continue reading The Second Annual Christmas Message from James Proclaims

Having My Cake And Eating It

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Why do I avoid
The things that are good for me
In favour of the things that are bad?

I know I’m happier
When I’m healthier
And usually I’m wealthier
Because the bad stuff is more expensive
Than the good Continue reading Having My Cake And Eating It